African Americans and members of other racial and ethnic minority groups are under-represented in the health and aging research fields. Minority scholars in these areas often report that they occupy marginal status in their fields of study, in part due to their restricted access to effective mentoring relationships and limited contact with senior scholars in the field. The various mentoring structures and activities that have been developed at the MCUAAAR have been extremely successful in producing significant numbers of highly regarded and productive scholars. MCUAAAR trained faculty members, in turn, are currently in the process of training new cohorts of social scientists in the areas of minority health and aging. The goals of the MCUAAAR training programs are to increase the number of faculty and the amount of high quality research on older African Americans. An overall objective of the MCUAAAR is to promote health research on minority elders, particularly African American urban dwelling elders that will lead to health promotion and the reduction and elimination of health disparities as called for in Healthy People 2010. To accomplish this, the MCUAAAR will continue to develop its already successful mentoring program, and will continue to build a network of investigators who are committed to becoming productive scholars in research on the health and well-being of minority elders. We will expand upon a proven method of "integrated" mentoring which has allowed pilot investigators in the MCUAAAR to become productive scholars and obtain NIH funding.
The specific aims of the Investigator Development Core are to: 1) select and nurture a minimum of 15 pilot research projects over the five year grant period and participate in the development of investigator initiated applications as part of this process;2). mentor a set of pilot studies that focus research on cognition, independence, health promotion and demographic and social aspects of health among older African Americans and other minority populations;3) conduct intensive three-day summer workshops that focus on recent developments in African American aging research;and, 4) disseminate information on African American Aging research.
The proposed project seeks to continue our successful mentoring program and continue to build a network of scholars who are committed to conducting research on the health and well-being of minority elders. This will be done through our: 1) pilot study program, 2) summer research workshops, 3) mentoring of doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows, and 4) dissemination of research to the academic community as well as directly to black elders through our community core.
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